The Father of Utilitarianism

John Stuart Mill was the most influential English language philosopher of the nineteenth century. He was logician, naturalist and an exponent of Utilitarianism. He was the foremost liberal who advocated for the delegate model of electoral rights and the consequences of John Locke’s empiricist (knowledge comes from experience) outlook.

Mill combined eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinking with newly emerging currents of nineteenth-century Romantic and historical philosophy. He wrote System of Logic (1843), On Liberty (1859), Utilitarianism (1861) and An Examination of Philosophy (1865) by Sir William Hamilton’s (best known for his work in archaeology and mathematics) . The Hamilton work is about the importance of Reason over Ego desires and the need for people to differentiate between “wants” vs. ” needs” and “consciousness” vs. “dreaming.”

One of his most approachable works, on Liberty.

 “Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure…  Actions then should be judged according to how much happiness they produce. 

Jeremy Bentham, Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation,.

Early days in Pentonville

Mill was born 20 May 1806 at in Pentonville, England, then a northern suburb of London, at about 8 o’clock in the morning. His father James Mill a Scotsman, (1776-1836) was educated at Edinburgh University and was taught by Scottish polymath Dugald Stewart. Father Mill moved to London in 1802, where he was introduced to Jeremy Bentham, the English legal reformer via his Scottish connections. He married Harriet Barrow. John Stuart was their eldest son and Bentham’s godson.

James Mill gave his son (Uranus partile Saturn in the 4th) a vigorous education. His mother (see 25 Gemini 45 ) is said to have little effect on him, but we question that because Mill’s true love was also named Harriet whom he met at a dinner party in 1830, and was then married to a pharmacist, John Taylor. Despite the Taylors being married and having three children, two boys and one girl, Mill was smitten.

In 1833 Harriet mother negotiated a trial separation from her husband, and spent six weeks with Mill in Paris. On their return Harriet moved to a house at Walton-on-Thames where John Stuart Mill visited her on weekends. Although Harriet Taylor and Mill claimed they were not having a sexual relationship, and their relationship was platonic, their behaviour scandalized their friends who doubted Mill’s claims. i

In return , J.S. Mill was furious, and said they all had minds in the gutter with matching lax morals. Because of this division between Mill and his friend, he became socially isolated from them, eventually moving to France.

Marriage to Harriet Taylor

When John Taylor died in 1849, Harriet and Mill married in 1851. Mill was outraged at the prejudiced judgments of his philosophical friends and wrote On Liberty  where he wrote Harriet had been integral to the book. (Uranus in the 4th sextile the 1st house and square his Neptune or what he felt their “enlightened” reaction should be). This book is the cornerstone of Liberal Political thought and Mill states very clearly that

“The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant this for… Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” 

On Liberty

Mill idolized his wife (Venus at the 10th house sextile his Moon in the 12th) and credited her with everything he wrote. Harriet died,  in 1858 while the couple was in Avignon, France. Mill purchased a house close by the cemetery, and lived there for the rest of his life. He did not remarry Uranus at 22 Libra 14 Rx sextile the 8th house Aquarian house with Saturn opposite Venus and a T Square to Jupiter 07 Capricorn 20 on the 7th house cusp) but Mill continued his work with her daughter, Helen Taylor.

Being a MoP

In 1865, Mill was elected as the Member of Parliament for Britain’s Liberal Party. Since he believed that the trustee ideal of representation was false (this is where the representative is elected on behalf of similar minded people) and instead advocated the liberal model of delegation (where one is elected because of their own principles and ideals whether or not they coincided with the electorates) he neither canvassed for the seat nor attended Westminster afterwards, but stayed at home, in Avignon. This argument of representation has historically been the difference between Western parliamentary parties (Tory v. Labor; Democrat v. Republican).

Librivox has many of his works available for listening

Key astrological points:

  • His ascendant is 01 Leo 51 (Leo 02) , an epidemic of Mumps, is a momentary appeal of ideas are kept alive by his immediate needs making his life a continual excursion into current affairs.

  • His Midheaven at 07 Aries 51 is conjunct Venus 12 Aries 44 showing the importance not only of his wife Harriet, but also how he acquired ideas that changed structurally how society worked.

  • Jupiter (07 Capricorn 20 — birds chirping happily) square the Midheaven (07 Aries 51 — a large hat with streamers flying east) highlights his drive of working towards a Utopian economy that was utilitarian and feasible.

  • His North Node is in Sagittarius in the 6th highlights his inner circle’s impact on his life’s work while the South Node in the 12th shows equally how his friends let him down in his marriage by their lack of support. Also shown here is his need to be a service to others often at his own loss making him uncompassionate and cold.

  • His Moon is conjunct his South Node in the 12th. This aspect can give someone a martyr complex, dedicating himself to another — the Moon as a proxy for his wife and seeking seclusion from outsiders and thus dedicating himself more to his (their) work. This Nodal setup as it works into his Midheaven/Nadir shows that Mill saw himself an economic doctor/surgeon to Britain’s ills.

  • He is a see-saw temperament type.
  • His mental chemistry is very aggressive but upon deliberate in application.

  • His dynamic aptitude is the Sun opposite Neptune, a born social reformer because the individual’s need for group validation for his social research. This aspect keys Mill energy and will towards the idealism of a better future and the social reform needed.

  • Mill died in Avignon on 7 May 1873, time unknown so the progression below is something to ponder, if only in comparison in broad terms to his life’s work — the Moons are trine showing happiness in his dedication to his wife and his own life’s work; two two Mars are sextile one in philosophy and the other for the public thus Mill was satisfied that he had brought a peaceful revolution i.e. reform to the political and intellectual arena, etc.

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